How to Avoid a Trump Repetition

Talk about counting your chickens before they are hatched, but I think now is the time to start thinking abut the institutional changes that we can make that will prevent a repetition.

Establishing the validity of truth versus lies.  When the US Supreme Court liberalized libel law to project the media, little did it, or anyone understand that it was legalizing massive and uncorrected falsity.  We have to create some kind of procedural mechanism for the establishment of falsity.  My own thought is that it should be possible to bring a court action against the lie itself, in such a way that it is not about money, but about establishing truth.  Just think if such a mechanism existed to conclusively rebut the peddlers of the birther poison.  At a minimum it would give the fact checkers a common direction, and  finding to which debate opponents could appeal.

Wee tend to get deeply discouraged that around 40% of voters say they approve of Trump.  But remember that only a third of those say that his policies are what matters most.  The rest like the “personality”, whatever that means.

Remember, they met that personality on TV, and much of his early success was simply name recognition.  Remember how Mike Dukakis parlayed a very different TV program, “The Advocates” to a national nomination.

At one level, therefore, the TV networks just have to be much more careful about who they build up.  (How do you think the person who at NBC who accepted Trump’s pitch feels these days?)

Which leaves Fox!

There are many ways to constrain this aberration, with libel law changes being one, but always lurking in the background is the old fairness doctrine.  A way should be found to resurrect this, such as by limiting the exception when the number of meaningfully different outlets falls below a certain level.  Alternatively, controlling Fox through advertisers might become a long term project.

 

 

 

Better than the Trump Lies Drinking Game

There has been a lot of online fun about the Trump Lies Drinking Game for today’s Oval Offiice joke session.

Here is a more constructive alternative, or perhaps addition.

Everyone in the group pledges on ActBlue, to donate, say, $5 to the Democrats, every time Trump lies in a major speech.

If this were, say 5 million people, can you imagine the negative incentive for the Republicans and their continued lies.

 

 

 

When Does the Trump Game End?

I can claim no special knowledge about how the Trump game ends.  But I do have a theory about when.

Its simple.  We run up against the debt ceiling somewhere between August and October.

I refuse to believe that the real banking and economic powers — worldwide– are willing to trust Trump, the way he is now, with that negotiation.  It would make the  shutdown seem like kindergarten play.

Of course, if my theory is wrong, then we are in for a terrible ride.

 

You Can Figure Out Who has “Caused” a Shutdown

There has been a lot of blather about who “caused” the shutdown, a different question as to whether it is worth it.

Actually, the analysis s very simple.  When one party tries to change the status quo, and is willing to disrupt a larger system to obtain that end, that party is “causing” the crisis.  Trump wants one change in the status quo, hos wall, and is willing to disrupt a big chunk of government.  Even without his having taken ownership, to say that he is not the cause is simply ridiculous.   If the Dems were to try to change immigration policy by a shutdown, they would be causing a shutdown.  If they were using it to restore the prior status quo of a unilaterally changed policy, they would not.

Now whether it is “worth it,” depends on a balancing of harms, but there us a strong presumption against the legitimacy of using disruption to achieve narrow aims.

 

Kamala Harris on Health Care

Without making any endorsement, I want to encourage everyone to take a look at her health care essay, which seems authentic above all.

Logistics, alone, can be overwhelming. I remember that as my mother’s condition worsened, she needed more care than we could provide. I wanted to hire a home health care aide for her. But my mother didn’t want help.

“I’m fine. I don’t need anybody,” she would say, even though she could barely get out of bed. There was a fight to be had, but I didn’t want to have it. Her body was giving out. The medication was making it difficult for her to function, to be herself. I didn’t want to take her dignity away.

So, we muddled through. I cooked elaborate meals for her, filling the house with the smells of childhood, which reminded us both of happier times. When I wasn’t at the office, I was most often with her, telling stories, holding hands, helping her through the misery of chemotherapy. I brought her hats after she lost her hair, and soft clothes to make her as comfortable as I could.

At one point, one of her doctors pulled me aside. “How’s my D.A.?” the doctor asked, referring to my role as the elected prosecutor of San Francisco. The question caught me off guard. I had been so focused on my mother’s well-being, I hadn’t made room for anything else. I started to choke up. I was scared. I was sad. Most of all, I wasn’t ready.

How true it all rings  – not that I am anything like there yet., and indeed are somewhat stabilized on the eating.

By the way, there has not been anything like enough attention paid to the impact on th nomination of California’s newly early primary date, and its early voting.  Probably the first time ever.  So, no surprise if Harris builds an early unstoppable momentum.

 

 

 

Refusing to Move a Vice Presidential Replacement Would Be The Ultimate Garland Payback

It’s time to start speculating about a post-Trump 2019.  Supposing Trump is impeached, Pence moves up, and Congress starts to talk about replacing him as the investigation reaches Pence.

Then the Dems, now in the majority, citing the Garland nomination, refuse to approve a new VP.  “The people should decide.” (imagined quote).

When Pence is convicted, we get, glory of glory of glories, President Pelosi.  Pelosi, of course, re-nominates Garland, no longer subject to the filibuster.

 

Trump Does Not Only Speak for himself — He Also Acts Only For Himself

Tillerson memorably explained that the President speaks for himself.

That’s bad enough.

But, once you think about it, it becomes crystal clear not only that he not acts for himself, but that the acts ONLY for himself.

Every story bout his financial benefits, about his marketing, about his policies, about his ego-serving behavior, demonstrates that nothing is done with any perception of national interest, let alone world interest.

Indeed, he has gotten away with this for so long because his base thinks he is acting in their interest.  So the simple trick is get them to start to see otherwise,  Maybe Tillerson has show how to start.

Remember, he acts only for himself.